By Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
Worried by the incessant herdsmen and farmers crisis, the National President of Egume Ome Descendants’ Union (EODU), Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim on Wednesday called on Kogi state government to be proactive in averting the looming crises between Fulani and Farmers in Egume, Dekina local government area of the state.
Ibrahim who made the call in a statement through the National Publicity Secretary of the Union, Mr. Noah Ocheni in Lokoja said Egume people are predominantly farmers and means of their livelihood is being hampered by the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the community.
The statement stated that, “The looming crisis between herders and our community is eminent, unfortunate and a great disaster that may bring tears to every Egume sons and daughters if nothing is put in place to forestall the incident from escalation.”
“We all know that the Funanis all over Nigeria are fully armed. In what way can our people withstand this heavy rain that has already condensed in the cloud?”
The president appealed to the state and local governments for a remedy than any defensive mechanism that will not stop calamity or casualty that is above animals and farm products.
He pointed out that other communities like Iyale, Ologba shares farming boundaries with Egume that has been seized by Fulani herdsmen but wonder why only Egume is being made a scapegoat in this matter.
Ibrahim appealed to Kogi state government to be proactive by establishing dialogue that will bring peace than self-defense as a resolution is less expensive than combatting war.
It will be recalled that the Commissioner of Police, Kogi state Police Command, Ede Abubakar on 5th February 2020, held a peace/ security meeting with Stakeholders, traditional rulers from Egume, representative of Fulani herdsmen, Ardo Fulani Egume, Secretary Miyeti Allah, Dekina, and the National Executive of Egume Ome Descendants Union were represented at the Five hours meeting.
The security meeting which was at the instance of the Commissioner of Police was a result of the incessant reports of the alleged killing of cows in the area and how to avoid reprisal attacks and the foreboding consequences.
Despite all these security arrangements, farmers in Egume community are living in fear and hunger with nobody to air their grievances.
He pointed out that Fulani herdsmen are now scaring farmers from farms with AK-47 and directly stealing their farm produce while community leaders seem to have cried in vain in their subsequent report of this ugly incident to the appropriate quarters for redress.
“Fulani herders in Egume now sells Cashew nut without owning Cashew farms and now selling Cassava in the market without owning Cassava farm and this ugly development is suffocating innocent farmers in Egume.” he added.
According to him, farmers cried out that ” Fulanis chased us from our farms with their guns, pulled out cassava tubers, gather our beans for their cows feed on. They have taken over everything we have, for over a week now, some of us can’t get closer to our farms because of the Fulani attack”.
This ugly situation according to him is not only a threat to immediate food security in the state but posing a great famine to Egume people in particular and it environs in the near future.
He pointed out that farmers are lamenting over the inability of cashew businessmen to identify Fulani from real Igala Cashew farmers in the Egume community.
One of the affected farmers appealed to the state government to detail its security agents to caution Cashew Buyers Association to stop buying Cashew NUTS from Fulani herders as that will further fuel the ongoing siege on various farms.
The President therefore stressed the need for the local government council and state government to work harder and end this menace before its escalate to something else.
Ibrahim also called on the Attah Igala HRM, Michael areao Oboni II to summon all the leaders of Fulani in the various communities around Egume community to bring this menace to a halt.